The Wheel of Health
It can be confusing and overwhelming to know where to start and what to focus on when beginning a program aimed at better health. The reality is, you are the center of your health. Your values, goals and priorities determine everything about the course of your life. And you are the most important consideration when it comes to planning for your health. The Duke Integrative Medicine’s Wheel of Health can be an excellent tool for taking a look at the “whole person” concept of health and it serves as the framework for our work together. Within self-care, personal health maintenance includes choices that you make which affect your physical, mental and emotional well-being. These seven dimensions are where we experience life, living and our best self, and where we can create a healthier life, from the ground up. At (Pivot/Rockett Momentum) we encourage our clients to take a look at personal strengths, areas for improvement and identify areas where they might like to make a change.
Do you ever feel like you don’t have time to take care of your health (physically, mentally or spiritually)? Are there self-defeating thoughts or behaviors that undermine your progress? Do you feel caught in stress reactions which you don’t know how to manage? Awareness of the mind-body connection improves the quality of life of healthy, active people as well as those who have long-term or life-threatening illness. By being more present and aware of what is happening within you, you can live a life that is grounded in a deep sense of meaning and purpose, and you can respond to changes in your life in a proactive and engaged way. The mind-body connection happens on both a physical and a chemical level where one's thoughts, emotions, or spiritual practices can directly affect the way the body functions. Learning and incorporating even a few simple mindful practices can, and does, make a difference in how your body responds to the stresses and rigors of everyday life.
Movement, Exercise and Rest
Are you stressed? Out of shape? Maybe even medically at risk? Do you want to start exercising again? Or increase my exercise regimen? Do you want to find an exercise program that you can continue? The human body is designed to be in motion. A mere 20 minutes of physical activity a day can help prevent a large number of common diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. What about sleep? The body does much of its repair and regeneration during deep sleep. But sleep eludes many and leads to the chain reaction that getting the movement and exercise we need to keep our bones, muscles and even our psyche strong that much harder. You can optimize the performance of your body through appropriate movement, exercise and rest, which produces needed strength, flexibility, endurance and restoration. It is possible to develop a sustainable, appealing plan that meets your needs and keeps you strong, flexible, balanced, restored and happy.
Do you want to make changes in your eating habits? Do you want to establish healthy eating habits for your family? As a nation, we are often over fed and undernourished. And with the information overload surrounding the topic of food, it can be hard to sort out what to do. A healthy diet both feeds and protects you from many illnesses, while a poorly balanced diet can make you vulnerable to disease and illness. Food is tied to emotions and past experiences. It’s about more than carbs or no carbs. And it’s definitely about more than just aspiring to be model thin if that’s not how you’re built. It’s about finding what’s right for you, for the metabolism that is uniquely yours and what it takes to feed both your body and your soul.
Personal and Professional Development
Do you love your work or do you dread Monday morning? What is present in your life now that you find fulfilling? How could you do more rewarding activities? Are you at a point of transition or reaching a milestone that is exciting or perhaps scary? Personal and professional development is about the activities that provide overall meaning and purpose in your life. And your definition of what that means is unique to you. It may include your chosen profession, your family, volunteering and other activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Taking a deeper look at work-life balance, financial goals and personal growth supports are one of the components to finding optimal health and well-being.
Does your physical surrounding energize or drain you? Does clutter leave you feeling unsettled every time you see it? Do you have sufficient light to affect your well-being? Living in surroundings that are cluttered or that are just not personally satisfying can cause stress and hinder relaxation and comfort. Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up may be too extreme for some (finding out if each and every item in your space brings you joy and if not, getting rid of it), but her overall concept of tidying up and releasing things that no longer serve us rings true. By bringing order to your surroundings, paying attention to senses such as light, noise, color and odors, you can create environments that nurture your mind and reduce stress.
Relationships and Communication
Do you have supportive relationships, or do you often feel like you are the one offering all of the support? Do you spend your time with people who energize or drain you? One of the most satisfying things in life is to truly connect and bond with other people. But relationships can be hard to find and even harder to maintain as we all come to the table with very different life experiences and values. Positive social relationships and support are a key to a sense of well-being. Having open, respectful communication can have a significant and positive effect on your health and vitality. The quality of relationships you choose is very important. By being selective, spending more time with people who give you energy, you are enriching your life experience and contributing to your health.
Do you find purpose and meaning in your life? Do you find wonder and joy in nature? For some, spirituality is grounded in formalized religion which can make the tough times we all experience bearable. For others, spirituality is found when taking in the simple things in life like walking in nature, being at the ocean, sharing time with those closest to us. And some express their spirituality through mindful practices, acts of kindness and compassion. Others just believe there is a higher power and that’s enough. Spirituality can be defined as the capacity for you to see purpose and meaning in life in something larger than you. Self-awareness of this kind can have very positive beneficial effects on health and well-being.